Is happiness a feeling or a knowing? Is it some fleeting feeling we all strive to achieve? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, happiness is “a state of well-being and contentment.”
Can a person be continually happy while also facing struggles or experience pain or grief?
What makes a person happy?
I’ve often wondered what makes a person content—or even happy—while muddling through tough times. Is it in their DNA to be perpetually positive and helpful or is it the belief that having hope leads to happiness?
From the Dalai Lama XIV in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, he is quoted as saying,
“When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take.”
What brings YOU happiness?
In recognition of International Day of Happiness (March 20) and National Humor Month (April), I ask you to ask yourself what brings you happiness? What brings you joy?
Is it something within you that brings you happiness or external influences and experiences, or relationships? Is there an area of your life that is ‘missing something’ or doesn’t bring you happiness, joy or contentment?
On a recent TV interview celebrating National Humor Month, I was asked, “What happens first, applying the humor then the optimism follows or, are you optimistic then able to make fun of something?” My response was that I think both can happen. If I look at a situation from a positive perspective—and even with gratitude—I am able to see the humor in it. And, I think that looking at something from a humorous perspective and laughing for no reason, go along with gratitude. If I feel gratitude about my life, then I can look at things from a lighter perspective. If I choose to feel grateful, then I will see what there is to be grateful for.
When I’m stressed, I can’t find my keys. When I’m stressed, I can’t be creative. When I’m stressed, I can’t connect with people. Conversely, when I am able to see life from a lighter perspective, I am able to see the humor. I think the same goes for choosing happiness. Deciding to be positive about a situation, will lead to me feeling positive—and possibly happy—about a situation.
Just in the past two days, I’ve had conversations with people where the topic of saying no to something frees us to say yes to what really matters to us. Sometimes, in order to obtain happiness we must release and say no to something that no longer brings us joy or happiness.
As the Dalai Lama suggests, take a step back and remind yourself of your purpose. Reflect on what will truly bring you happiness.
Wishing you much joy and happiness. And may you enjoy your journey on the road to happiness.
About the author: To find our more about Julie Ostrow, please click here.